Lewiston Mayor Shane Bouchard acknowledged Wednesday that a woman with whom he had a relationship provided him damaging internal campaign emails from his opponent and were eventually obtained by a website run by an operative for the Maine Republican Party.
Bouchard also confirmed that he discussed the emails with Lewiston resident Heather Berube Everly in text messages in which he described her as his “secret weapon.”
Everly worked for Bouchard’s opponent, Ben Chin, during the hotly contested 2017 race, which became a proxy battle between the Maine Republican and Democratic parties.
Bouchard prevailed in the runoff, but not before the damaging emails from Chin’s campaign were obtained by Maine Republican Party Executive Director Jason Savage. Just before the runoff election, Savage published some of the emails in a post on the Maine Examiner, an anonymous website originally disguised as a news service but later revealed to be operated by Savage.
Until Wednesday, it was unclear how Savage and the Examiner obtained the emails. But Everly revealed, during a sparsely attended Lewiston City Council meeting Tuesday, that she has obtained the emails and shared them with Bouchard.
“I did work with Ben Chin as a recruiter with Maine People’s Alliance and, around the time of the residency restrictions, I connected with Mayor Bouchard, where I had an affair with him,” Everly told the council, adding, “I gave the emails to Shane Bouchard … and he then gave those emails to the Republican Party, to Jason Savage, who wrote articles for the Maine Examiner that twisted Ben’s words and made him out to be a racist or to be pointing fingers at other people as racist.”
Bouchard reportedly denied the allegations when contacted by the Lewiston Sun Journal. But in an interview with Maine Public Radio, he only disputed that he had provided Chin’s emails to Savage and the Maine Republican Party. He said it was Everly who provided the emails to the GOP.
“I had no idea what anybody was going to do with that information, how it was going to be done. I was still looking at doing something with it personally with my campaign,” Bouchard told Maine Public Radio.